In an interview with Barron’s, Mary Meeker of Bond Capital discussed her long career championing tech, from her early days at Morgan Stanley where she touted Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Dell to her position as a venture investor with Kleiner Perkins where she invested in winners like Airbnb, Uber, and Snap.
At Bond Capital, the firm she founded in 2018, recent investments include several technology companies such as contract management software designer Ironclad and Genies, which provides tools for building avatars. Meeker also pointed to NFTs, crypto and blockchains as “foundational technologies” similar to cellphones and the cloud, as software developers migrate over to them at a rapid pace. “…people are already living in digital worlds,” Meeker told Barron’s, and consumers expect smooth, instantaneous payment methods as well as digital currencies they can access at the tap of their finger.
Calling the “crypto-blockchain-metaverse era” the “fourth faster/better/cheaper computing revolution” in the last 50 years, after personal computers, desktop internet and mobile internet, Meeker believes that generational changes to the global markets are swiftly evolving. And with remote work exploding in the last two years, that’s resulted in an enormous amount of entrepreneurship and mobility in the U.S.
However, Meeker told Barron’s, with that explosion of innovation came a lot of capital being poured into companies at high valuations. Many of those companies won’t live up to their hype; “…too much cash can sometimes kill,” she says. But Meeker is still a believer in the traditional venture capital model—with the caveat that in today’s fast-paced entrepreneurial marketplace, gaining a competitive advantage is much more difficult than in the past.
When asked what worries her, Meeker admitted that “It’s a long list,” and highlighted high inflation, geopolitical unrest, divisiveness across the cultural and political spectrums, and “an ineffective K-to-college education process.” Investors need to be careful and smart about their choices and how they manage their portfolios, she advised; the long list of challenges will eventually “come home to roost and we will all be judged by how well we anticipate, adapt, and respond.”